John Muir: Inner and Outer Connectivity

The outside within

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

~John Muir,  in John of the Mountains:  The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

Integrating Ecosystem Services

Moscow

Industrial Moscow, by Alexander Petrenko

School of Art, Media & Design, Singapore

Integrating the Right Things

“Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.”
-Mark Twain

Ecosystem Services (ES) are the flows of benefits that we obtain from natural systems. The world’s ecosystems provide services with which we are interconnected and upon which we are dependent. For instance, ecosystems help regulate our clean water supply, sequester greenhouse gases, provide materials such as trees that we harvest as natural resources, and provide the environments that we come to know and love as individuals and societies.

Biologists, ecologists, natural resource managers, philosophers and poets have been talking about similar flows within and from ecosystems to human systems for decades. So what’s the big deal with ecosystem services now?

The new part is that the knowledge of the limits of these systems—and how vulnerable they are to human impact—has not been incorporated into classical economic valuation systems. When we talk about ES in economic terms, we often refer to natural capital. This natural capital has been externalized from market systems, and as a result the provisioning, supporting and regulating functions of ecosystems have been significantly degraded.

This is a blog about the mindful re-integration of nature. Making the externalized internal. Not only to our monetary systems, but to our social systems, our cities and homes, and in the end, ourselves.

An Economy of Mind (Image by Ben Goossens)